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Edward Allen Carter, Jr.
May 26, 1916(1916-05-26) – January 30, 1963 (aged 46)
Edward Carter
SSgt Edward A. Carter, Jr., Medal of Honor recipient
Place of birth Los Angeles, California
Place of death Los Angeles, California
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1941-1945
Rank Staff Sergeant
Unit Chinese Nationalist Army
Abraham Lincoln Brigade
56th Armored Infantry Battlion, 12th Armored Division
Battles/wars Spanish Civil War
World War II
Awards Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze Star
Purple Heart

Edward Allen Carter, Jr. (May 26, 1916 – January 30, 1963) was United States Army Staff Sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during March 1945 during World War II. He was one of seven African-American soldiers who were belatedly awarded the Medal of Honor on January 13, 1997 by President Bill Clinton.


Early years

Carter was born in Los Angeles, California in 1916. He was the son of missionaries and grew up in India and then moved to Shanghai, China.

Military service


Pre-World War II

While in Shanghai, Carter ran away from home and joined the Chinese Nationalist Army fighting against invading Japanese. He had to leave the Nationalist Army because he was not yet 18. He eventually made his way to Europe and joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which was an American volunteer unit supporting the Spanish Loyalists fighting against General Francisco Franco's regime during the Spanish Civil War.

U.S. Army

Carter had entered the Army on September 26, 1941. As a result of his previous combat experience, he stood out among the other recruits. In less than a year, he had achieved the rank of staff sergeant.

He was member of a unique type of organization — the Seventh Army Infantry Company Number 1 (Provisional), 56th Armored Infantry Battalion, 12th Armored Division near Speyer, Germany.

The provisional companies generally were established during, and in the wake of, the Battle of the Bulge, which took place during the winter of 1944-1945. Black support and combat-support soldiers, and some whites, were allowed to volunteer for combat duty and were given training in small-unit tactics. Formed into provisional units, they were used to augment depleted divisions.

On March 23, 1945, Carter, a 28-year-old infantry staff sergeant, heroically acted when the tank on which he was riding was hit by bazooka fire. Dismounted, Carter led three soldiers across an open field. In the process, two of the men were wounded and the other seriously wounded.

Carter continued alone and was wounded five times before being forced to take cover.

Eight German soldiers tried to capture him, but he killed six and captured the remaining two. These he used as a shield from enemy fire as he recrossed the field. His prisoners provided valuable information on enemy-troop disposition for his unit.

Carter left the Army in 1945 and died of lung cancer on January 30, 1963, in the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

Awards and honors

Awards and decorations

Carter has been awarded the following: Medal of Honor (as of September 23, 1996); Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Army Good Conduct Medal; American Defense Service Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Combat Infantryman Badge.

Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


For service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For extraordinary heroism on March 23, 1945, near Speyer, Germany. When the tank he was riding received heavy bazooka and small arms fire, Sgt. Carter voluntarily attempted to lead a three-man group across an open field. Two of his men were killed and the third seriously wounded. Continuing on alone, he was wounded five times and finally was forced to take cover. As eight enemy riflemen attempted to capture him, Sgt. Carter killed six of them and captured the remaining two. He then crossed the field, using as a shield his two prisoners from whom he obtained valuable information concerning the disposition of enemy troops.[1]


MV Ssg Edward A. Carter, Jr., named in honor of the Medal of Honor recipient, is a container ship in the United States Navy Military Sealift Command, one of 36 ships that are a part of the Prepositioning Program.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Military Sealift Command
  2. ^ MV SSG EDWARD A. CARTER, JR. (T-AK 4544)", Military Sealift Command, U.S. Navy. (URL accessed April 23, 2006)


This article contains text in the public domain from the United States Army.

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